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Full text of "A history of Persia"

SHORT-LIVED ZAND DYNASTY       375
Husayn Khan was at a disadvantage owing to a quarrel
with the chief of the rival branch of the Kajars, which
reduced his strength. Forced to fight, he held his ground
as long as there was any hope, and then attempted to
escape, but was recognized by the chief of the upper
branch/ who pursued and killed him, This ended the
"triangular duel between the three claimants, from which
Karim Khan by reason of his personal popularity emerged
victorious, although frequently unsuccessful in the field.
The Reign of Karim Khan, A.H. 1163-1193 (1750-
1799).—The total length of Karim Khan's reign was
twenty-nine years, and for over twenty he was undisputed
ruler of Persia. He refused the title of Shah—the puppet
Ismail was kept in captivity at Abadeh—and termed him-
self Vakil) or Regent. Shiraz was his capital, and the fine
buildings, of which it still boasts, were all erected by him.
Of his justice, his sense of humour, and his kindliness,
I heard many instances when living at Shiraz, where his
name is still loved and revered. To give a single instance,
he was so anxious that his subjects should be happy that
if in any quarter of the town no music was heard he
invariably inquired what W&a wrong, and paid musicians
to play there. To quote a Persian writer, " The inhabi-
tants of Shiraz enjoyed the most perfect tranquillity and
happiness. In the society of moon-faced damsels they
passed their leisure hours ; the sparkling goblet circulated ;
and love and pleasure reigned in every breast." In close
touch with the people, affecting no state and yet shrewd
and capable, Karim Khan gave exhausted Iran two decades
of sorely needed rest, and when he died at a great age the
homely Zand chief was genuinely and* deeply mourned.1
The Occupation of Kharak by the Dutch.—During the
anarchy that prevailed in Persia the Dutch Government,
whose representative, Baron Kniphausen, had been ill-
treated and imprisoned at Basra, seized the island of
Kharak at the head of the Persian Gulf. This act enabled
Kniphausen to blockade the Shatt-ul-Arab and compel
the Governor of Basra to make full amends for his mis-
1 In A Tour to Sheeraz, by E. S. Waring (1808), an interesting account is given of
Karim Khan and the later Zand Princes.